Britax Marathon CT Convertible Carseat Review
ClickTight isn’t considered new technology anymore since it was introduced over 10 years ago on the old Britax Frontier seat, but the ClickTight system is still the gold standard when it comes to a mechanical advantage featured on a car seat. Even though many other car seat manufacturers have copied the idea behind ClickTight, nothing else installs as easily as a Britax seat with this technology. ClickTight was a game-changer a decade ago and continues to be the easiest installation method available on any convertible car seat.
The Britax Marathon CT is a convertible carseat designed to fit babies to preschoolers.
Here’s a quick overview of the differences between the three ClickTight convertibles. All Britax CT convertibles have the ClickTight Installation System, an impact-absorbing base with 7 recline positions, rip-stitch energy-absorbing tether, HUGS harness pads, a steel reinforced frame, EPP foam, and other side-impact protection features.
- Britax Marathon ClickTight – This model has a no-rethread harness, headwings lined with energy-absorbing EPP foam, and rubber HUGS pads that are attached to the harness. MSRP $339.99
- Britax Boulevard ClickTight – All the features of the Marathon CT plus deeper headwings. MSRP $369.99
- Britax Advocate ClickTight – All the features of the Boulevard CT plus external side-impact cushions. MSRP $399.99
Britax also makes a series of smaller convertibles. These models are based on the previous Britax convertible platform and do NOT have ClickTight. Britax Emblem MSRP $249.99
2023 Britax Marathon Fashions:
Britax Marathon Specs:
- Rear-facing 5-40 lbs. AND child’s head is 1” below top of head rest
- Forward-facing 20-65 lbs., 49″ or less, at least 1 year old*
*Britax recommends that children ride rear-facing to the highest weight or height specified
Marathon CT Overview:
- ClickTight installation system (also acts as a lockoff device)
- 12 position headrest with no-rethread harness
- 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
- 2 position buckle with EZ-Buckle System to keep buckle to the front and forward of the child when loading
- Steel-reinforced frame
- SafeCell impact-absorbing base
- Energy-absorbing, rip-stitch Versa-Tether®
- 7 recline positions to help achieve a proper recline angle in any vehicle
- Smooth bottom base with grippy edges that won’t damage vehicle upholstery
- FAA-approved for use on aircraft
- 10 yr lifespan before expiration
- Made in the USA!
Marathon CT Measurements
Harness heights: 7 ½”-18 ½”
External widest point: 17 ½”
Shell height with headrest: 27”
Shoulder width: 14”
Crotch strap depth: 5”, 7”
Seat depth: 12”
Seat weight: 28 lbs.
The ClickTight panel, which closes down on top of seat belt, is a lockoff. The panel unlocks by pushing the dimple at the top of the CT dial and turning it clockwise.
Recline: There are 7 recline positions for rear-facing and as long as you stay within the proper zone for either your rear-facer or forward-facer, you’re golden. The Marathon can be adjusted as upright as you want for rear-facing as long as the level indicator ball isn’t touching the edge, which is fantastic for those older kids who don’t sleep, and it gives front seat passengers more legroom.
For forward-facing, the MA provides a nice recline as long as you stay within the indicator’s forward-facing zone AND the base isn’t pushed more than 3” off the vehicle seat. This recline is nice for kids who have special needs or if you’ll be traveling on a long trip overnight, but it really cuts down on the child’s legroom if you put it in the most reclined allowable position.
Seatbelt: Installation with the seatbelt is easy-peasy. Route BOTH the lap and shoulder portions of the seatbelt thru the correct beltpath. Pull the slack out of the lap belt portion of the seatbelt, make sure the belts are not twisted, and close the ClickTight panel. If the MA moves more than 1 inch, remove more slack from the seat belt. If it takes you more than a minute to do this process, there’s something wrong.
LATCH: Britax practically scoffs at LATCH with the CT system, especially in these convertibles. Which is probably why they’ve hidden the lower LATCH strap in a little compartment at the back of the base. They’re hoping you don’t even find the LATCH strap. Lol. Also, gone are the deluxe push-on style lower LATCH connectors that we’re used to on Britax products and in their place are standard hook-style connectors. They’ve done this for 2 reasons: 1. to save storage space and weight on the seat, and 2. to discourage the use of the lower LATCH connectors.
With the current Federal regulations, LATCH weight limits have been drastically lowered on heavier carseats and since it’s so incredibly easy to install the CT carseats using the seatbelt, it makes sense to discourage the use of the lower LATCH connectors. Of course, there might be times where you have a compelling reason to use those lower LATCH anchors instead of the seatbelt—like, say, when you have an adjacent child passenger who might accidentally unbuckle the seatbelt and unintentionally uninstall the carseat. However, for most people, it makes sense to install a ClickTight seat using the seatbelt instead of the lower LATCH anchors.
If you really want to use the LATCH strap to install your ClickTight convertible please note that uninstalling the seat after you’ve installed it using the LATCH strap has proven to be very challenging sometimes. This (and the low LATCH weight limits) are the reasons why we recommend using the seatbelt for installation. It’ll be easier in the long run.
- Rear-facing LATCH weight limit: 35 lbs.
- Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 40 lbs.
- Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing: Allowed when the vehicle manufacturer has designated it as a LATCH location.
Inflatable Seat Belts: Britax has determined that the Marathon ClickTight cannot be installed with found in some Ford, Lincoln, and Mercedes vehicles. In these cases you MUST use LATCH to install the seat or move the car seat to a different seating position that does not have an inflatable seatbelt.
Attach the tether strap to the tether anchor in your vehicle anytime you install the seat forward-facing. Regardless of whether you are using the seatbelt or the LATCH strap, if the seat is forward-facing, use the tether. FYI – the tether strap on the ClickTight models has been shortened significantly. Because it has been shortened so much, Britax offers a tether extender if you need it. In most cases you won’t need it but if you do – call Britax customer service to request a tether strap extender.
Fit to Child
The Marathon CT comes with an infant insert, which puts the lowest harness position at about 7.5”. Fit to Romeo, my 20” newborn doll was good.
The infant insert, called the “comfort pillow” in the manual, is nicely designed to fit under the tuck in the back pad when it’s in the lowest position. There are no weight or height limits on its use, but I would remove it as soon as the child no longer needs it for a boost to the bottom harness slots.
Older children will find the MA very comfy too. My models, ages 4 and 5, loved the seat and said it was very padded. My 5 year old model sat comfortably rear-facing in the MA for about 15 minutes while waiting for me.
Quinn is 4 and weighs 44 lbs.
Addie is 4 and weighs 43 lbs.
Ava is 5 and weighs 38 lbs.
Cover/Maintenance/Ease of Use
The cover is in 4 pieces so you can pick and choose which part to wash, and is easy to remove and put back on. There are relatively few elastics to hold it on and the hard part is remembering to tuck it in all the way around, though a couple of the elastics that hold the front edge piece on are tricky to get attached. There’s no need to remove the harness (yay!) to take off the back portion for cleaning. Most important to remember is to tuck in the side cover where the CT panel locking mechanism can catch. There are red tabs and even warnings on the panel itself about tucking in the cover.
Instructions for cleaning the cover:
If you’re looking everywhere for the sticker label with the model number and date of manufacture – you’re not blind! It’s hidden under the cover on the front of the CT panel. You’ll want to know where this is because if you contact Britax with a question, they’ll ask you the DOM and model number.
The Marathon CT is FAA-approved; however, because of the unique belt path and the different seat belts airplanes use, installation on a plane is altered. For rear-facing, keep the ClickTight panel closed and run the airplane seat belt over the top of the cover in the rear-facing belt path. Pull tight. For forward-facing, keep the ClickTight panel closed and run the airplane seat belt under the cover (pull the seat pad back forward) before placing the seat belt in the forward-facing belt path and tightening. Think about it: this keeps the bulky latchplate from being directly on your child’s back.
The Marathon CT has a lifespan of 10 years and Britax follows NHTSA’s crash guidelines of replacing after a major crash only.
Marathon ClickTight Advantages
- Better than average height limits for rear-facing
- Super easy seat belt installation with ClickTight System
- ClickTight also acts as a built-in lockoff device so you don’t need to understand the locking features of your vehicle seatbelt
- No-rethread harness makes it easy to adjust the harness height when your child has a growth spurt
- Harness straps are thick and not prone to twisting
- EZ-Buckle System keeps belly pad and buckle out of the way when loading child in the seat
- IMMI buckle is easy to buckle and unbuckle
- Rip-stitch tether, HUGS pads, and impact-absorbing technology in base all work together to absorb energy in a crash
- Harness straps are replaceable, if necessary
- HUGS pads may be removed when the child is rear-facing (but they are required for forward-facing)
- Range of rear-facing recline angles allowed
- Doesn’t take up a lot of room rear-facing if installed more upright for an older baby or toddler
- Easy to remove cover
- Premium fabrics and extra padding for comfort
- Made in the USA!
- Limited rear-facing leg room for older children near the upper limits of the seat
- Newborn recline angle may require adding a pool noodle in some vehicles
Despite not having the more robust headwings that the Boulevard & Advocate models have, the Britax Marathon CT has its place in the winning Britax lineup. The ClickTight panel makes installation a breeze; as long as you thread the belt through the correct belt path, the carseat practically installs itself. Does the ClickTight system live up to the Game Changer hype promised when it was released? You betcha!
Thank you to Britax for providing the Marathon ClickTight used for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.
CarseatBlog Experts Rating
Editors’ Pick Premium Category: Boulevard ClickTight
Also Recommended: Advocate ClickTight, Marathon ClickTight
We have a marathon click tight. For rear facing it says height is good up until the child is 1 in below top of the headrest. I am unsure if they mean the outer shell or the headrest when it is all the way raised. Can you clarify? Thanks.
I must be missing something because I have installed the seat and yet to use it because of a few reasons and even consider returning it. My daughter is 10 months old and even though the tilt level seems to be where it should for her age, the piece to pull to tighten the harness on her is tucked down below up against the back of the seat and I cannot reach it. I guess from reading this review we should be using the seatbelt and not the clips like I was doing. They were extremely hard to tighten but the seat belt seems like it gets in the way when I try to put my daughter in. Any help is appreciated! I have it ready to return but with all of the wonderful reviews I figure I will try again!
Hi Mary. You don’t *have* to use the seat belt, but it’s highly recommended just because parents tend to over-tighten the LATCH strap which, in turn, can make it *extremely* difficult to get the ClickTight panel open to uninstall the seat. Plus, LATCH has a low weight limit, even RF.
The more upright the carseat is, the more the harness adjuster strap will be hidden in the vehicle seatback. You said it’s completely hidden right now? You’ll just have to open the ClickTight panel to loosen up the install, pull it up, then close the ClickTight panel again. HTH!
I’m having difficulty seeing how to fit my 13 month old into the Marathon CT but it must be possible since you have photos of much larger children. I find the harness yoke does not allow enough space to get my son’s arms through and it is impossible to do up the buckle at the crotch if I manage to cram his arms in. According to the instructions I’m not to adjust the hip strap until 2 years old. Any suggestions?
Hi Kathleen. I have to ask the obvious–are you sure you’re loosening the harness all the way? Second, how is your son dressed when you’re putting him in the seat? Is he in heavy clothes or a t-shirt and pants? How long have you had the carseat?
He is dressed in a sweatshirt but I live in Canada where it’s winter 1/2 the year so taking off a coat does not make sense. The harness yoke in the back won’t allow the straps to come out any further so I assume they are all the way out. We purchased the seat about a month ago and it’s just collecting dust in tbe garage.
I thought in the Marathon clicktight manual it said that you are not to utilize the tether when the seat is installed rear facing? Thanks. Yes, I just re-read the manual of the Marathon clicktight and it definitely says not to use the tether strap in the rear facing installation.
Hi Laura- that is correct for newer seats. We will update our review to clarify the change, thanks for bringing this to our attention!
Is the marathon clicktight the only one with the short buckle? I didn’t realize just how short it was til I tried to put my 15m old in it, and she’s actually pretty small.
Abby, no, all the ClickTight models have the short crotch strap.
Do you know if the crotch straps are longer on the non ClickTight models?
Yes, Sophie, the non-ClickTight models have longer crotch straps.
How does the Marathon ClickTight compare to the previous version of the Marathon in terms of front passenger legroom? We tried a neighbors Marathon in our compact car and it fit great and seemed to allow for good legroom. Will the ClickTight version provide similar results?
Hi Kristen. The Marathon CT should give you more room, especially for older kiddos because it has more recline options.
Thank you so much for the quick response:)
I just purchased the Marathon for my 11 month old son as he seemed too big for his infant seat – the Cybex Aton Q. Am I crazy or is this seat simply the same as an infant seat but slightly larger? I was hoping a convertible seat would make my son higher up so that he could see out the window and have a little more freedom to move his arms and legs (while still strapped on tight, secure and safely). He still seems crammed and claustrophobic and he’s not a big boy. He hates being in the car so I was hoping for a better experience for him from the Britax which I heard such wonderful things about !
Hi Lindsay. Some convertibles will sit higher on their bases than others, but that will also make it more difficult to get the child into the carseat. As you can see in the pics of the 4 and 5 yr olds above who are still rear-facing in this carseat, it’s definitely a large enough seat to hold bigger kids. Did you remove the infant pad? It’s optional and could contribute to that “stuffed-in” feel. You can also adjust the recline of the seat so that it’s more upright. What’s great about the ClickTight seats is that you can adjust them as upright as your son can comfortably sleep, as opposed to having it be at a particular recline level.
Hello, we have just purchased Britax Advocate seats for my car, a Hyundai Elantra and my husband’s car, a Subaru Outback. The Advocate fits great in our cars and our 1o month old likes it. We went to install the Advocate in my parents’ Mazda CR5 SUV and Mazda 6 Sedan and found that in these cars, installing the seat in the middle blocks both side passenger seat belts. I am wondering if the base of the Marathon is narrower than the base of the Advocate? Also, is our 10 month old who can pull to standing, sit and crawl okay with the recline in the dark blue zone? I am not sure what the distinction is between those zones. Thanks for any help!
Hi Felicity. So sorry I missed your comment!
The Marathon ClickTight has the same base as the Advocate CT. If you’re comparing the Marathon G4.1 to the ClickTight, I think the bases are about even in size (see https://carseatblog.com/29670/2015-britax-g4-1-convertibles-and-clicktight-convertibles-comparison/).
For the recline, go ahead and adjust it to wherever is comfortable for your child. Britax allows the recline to be at any position you want, as long as it’s appropriate for the child (meaning the most recline for a newborn, for example, and more upright for older kids).
We just purchased this seat this weekend and so far we are mixed on it. The quality is obviously amazing and our little one (10 months) loves sitting in it. However, it takes up much more space than we expected and the buckle strap is insanely short, I can’t see this being comfortable for babies with chubby thighs lol
Question: Is there any recommendations for making the short buckle strap more comfortable/usable or does Britax offer a longer version we could switch out?
Hi Cari. Britax is aware of the issues with the short buckle strap. Our contact doesn’t have any information on if or when there will be a replacement available.
Hi, I just got this seat today and am also really concerned about the length of the crotch strap. My baby is only 9 months old and it looks like it’s digging into her leg already. Any update on replacing the strap? Otherwise I think I’m going to return it and go with an evenflo instead
Hi Natalie. I haven’t heard that Britax has moved on the length of the crotch strap. You may want to call them and voice your concerns or send them a post on their FB page.
I called Britax customer service this morning (9/8/15) and was told they were lengthening the crotch strap in the convertible seats that will be released as of September 14th. These seats will not be included in the recall. Can anyone with a reliable contact confirm the longer crotch strap? I really want to buy one but am concerned about this issue.
Hi Debbie. We’re checking on that for you.
Just wondering if there has been any update/confirmation re: the lengthening of crotch straps on convertible seats released as of September 14th, 2015?
We are keen to buy a seat soon (our babies arrival is expected mid-November), and have our eye on the CT versions of both the Marathon and Boulevard, but are concerned about the crotch strap length after reading your review and other’s comments…
Hi Melissa. Yes, I just got word that they don’t have a longer crotch strap nor do they have current plans for a new one. I’d suggest commenting on their FB page, at the very least, about it affecting your purchasing decision.
Okay, I am ready to buy this car seat but I just have one question. Is this car seat easily transferrable from one car to another? The reason being that I take my daughter to the sitter in the mornings but my husband picks her up in the evenings. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks!
It sure is, but keep in mind that it’s a really heavy seat and the more often you uninstall/install a seat, the more likely it is that you will make a mistake in installation. Have you considered buying a second, less expensive seat for your husband’s car (or yours?)? Most parents keep one carseat in each vehicle and use the less expensive carseat in the vehicle that gets less use.
That is a great idea, thanks!
I have the frontier 90 click tight for my four year old but would love this for my one year old to use!
The best part of the car seat that I am always looking for is a 5-pt harness, easy to adjust the settings. This one looks like it has an exceptional amount of padding.
I love the marathon clicktight, so much easier to move from one car to other. The weight and height limits are great, is a very long lasting car seat.
Love this seat! Click tight looks amazing for ease of install!
I love Britax car seats and strollers because I can count on them to keep my child safe. My 15 month old is still in his bsafe and we also have a b agile. They are quality made and last long. Cleaning then is easy thank to the easy dry breathable fabric. I would love to upgrade soon to a click tight because A) I trust the Britax brand and B) it’s so easy to install! 🙂
This is so awesome and I know that it would be great for my 18 month old daughter 🙂 🙂
Love this car seat!
I love how easy and secure Britax car seats are
Love this review. I really want one of these when my little outgrows his infant seat.
Thank you for the informative review.
great modern look and easy care instructions (hand wash, line dry, 4 separate parts to wash only what’s needed, easy to take off and put back on)! sounds great for mom of a spit-up-prone toddler (on longer car rides).
Thanks for the wonderful review. Do you know the width of the car seat. We are trying to decide between this and the Diono Rainer. We have 3 seats to fit in the back of our second car.
Thanks in advance.
Love click tight. My car does not have latch anchors so this would make moving the seat from my to hubby’s car so much easier.
Nice for patents who have to uninstall and reinstall frequently in different vehicles.
very nice can a kid weight 70 pounds fit in this carseat or what right for him he 4 foot tall
The Marathon, Boulevard, & Advocate are rated to 65 lbs, so no, these seats are not suitable for a child that weighs 70 lbs. I’d suggest the Britax Frontier combination seat OR a booster seat for a child that weighs 70 lbs and is 48″ tall (except if he’s only 3 years old or has a disability that affects using a booster seat).